How screen readers Find headings

Screen reader users can quickly go through the headings and understand the basic outline of the page, and then go back to the section that they’re most interested in. But this way of navigating and quickly understanding a web page is possible only if the page uses real headings and only if the headings create a good, logical outline of the content.


When reading an <h1> element, screen readers will say “heading level one”, followed by the text inside the heading. They will announce other heading levels in a same way.

Keep in mind that blind users can’t just look at a web page and immediately understand its layout the way that a sighted user can. Sighted users can understand a lot of information about the page layout without having to read all of the content. Blind users don’t have that opportunity. Screen readers read in a linear fashion, which means listening to the entire web page, unless there is some other easy way to get a “glimpse” of the page’s layout and structure. Screen reader users can use keyboard shortcuts to navigate through the heading structure of a document.


Method 1

Screen Reader & Browser            Command


1 JAWS with Chrome

Press H


2 NVDA with Firefox+ Chrome

Press H


Method 2:  List all headings

Screen Reader & Browser            Command

1 JAWS with Chrome, Firefox, IE:

Insert + F6


2 NVDA with Firefox, Chrome:

Insert + F7 (to open Elements List), then select headings



Author: admin

Freelance Certified Web Accessibility Specialists